Dear The Other Woman,

Do you have a brother? I do. We're close and he is awesome, but neither of us would ever dream of tacking on texts like "hugs!" or "cuddles!" in our communication. In real life, we're more likely to fist-bump than we are to hug it out. Maybe that's just us and our prickly Protestant ways, but my point stands — your boyfriend's claim that his friend is "like a sister" rings hollow. (Unless, of course, it's the Paris in the '60s: little-known loophole.)

Maybe your boyfriend and this girl are just friends, but that doesn't excuse dirty texts. (And "<3" as a verb is never okay. Because it is lame.) Regardless of intention, their behavior is effectively driving a girl-shaped wedge between you two. You know all of this; it just sounds like you need to have it validated. If it feels like they're too close for your comfort, then they are. And if it's bothering you, you need to bring it up.

When you talk to him, center on how this situation makes you feel — "I feel insecure" or "it's hard for me to trust you" or "I feel like she and I are in competition" are all legitimate viewpoints. Whatever you do, don't sink to ultimatums like "It's her or me." She's not the issue here; the issue is your boyfriend's ability to draw appropriate boundaries. Don't get swiftboated into thinking it's a flaw in you/it's a flaw in her/socialism is a threat to America. The issue you describe — real or imagined — is about trust and security, and any partner worth his salt will take that seriously.

As a side note, you say you and his friend are "both wary of one another." If you're each eyeing the other as if she's a rabid dog, you're playing into centuries-old stereotypes about women and jealousy. And that means that both you and she are stuck in an uncomfortable situation while he gets to high-five a mirror. He may not be conscious that he's doing it, but if he refuses to smooth things over, then he's probably not worth the energy after all.